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Career Story: Seventh Grade Math Teacher In A Suburban Public School

Seventh Grade Math Teacher In A Suburban Public School

Job Title: Teacher

Type of Company: I work for a school district in Newton, Massachusetts.

Education: BA, Mathematics, Colby College •• EdM, Mathematics Education, Boston University

Previous Experience: I have always been a teacher.

Job Tasks: I teach seventh grade mathematics to four classes of about twenty-four students each. I work with a team of teachers (social studies, English, science) who teach the same students I do. I also am chairperson of the math department. I develop student schedules and communicate with parents, faculty and the school administration. I collaborate frequently with other teachers to be sure we are delivering a comprehensive curriculum that fits the state's frameworks. We plan our units through backward design, starting with the objectives. We create pre-assessments to give the students and then we group them according to their needs for that particular unit of study. We call this a "flexible grouping model" and this is the first year we have used it. Our student body is from an affluent suburb of Boston and their parents are very involved. I spend a good amount of time communicating with parents about student achievement. I also work closely with the special educator on my team to serve those students who are on individualized education plans.

A typical day for me consists of getting set up for the day in the morning (agendas, homework charts, objectives written up on board). When the students arrive, we go through our classes using organizational and behavioral routines to keep the studies moving smoothly. We have meetings a couple of times per week with the team and we discuss student progress as well as other school or team-wide events that are coming up.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of being a teacher is the kids. Spending time with 12-13 year olds is extremely challenging and yet so rewarding. I love to see them reach their goals, and I also enjoy pushing them when they are feeling less than inspired. I help them over hurdles, but I don't carry them. They need to begin to learn to be responsible for themselves, and that includes sometimes taking ownership of the consequences of their actions (or inactions).

The hardest part is keeping my energy up when they become "typical" and whiny about not wanting to work.

Job Tips: You must be able to collaborate with others to do this job. It is not an individualized experience any more. Teachers are asked to work together all of the time. It is what is best for kids, and if you are not looking to work with others, this is not the right job for you.

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